Maggie Best is unquestionably the most active volunteer and ‘best’ chaperone in town. After working at IBM for 20 years and with a strong background in engineering, no task is too complex for her. She has been mentoring Team 604 since 2007, when her son joined the team. But that wasn’t the beginning of her FIRST experience. Mrs. Best has been involved with FIRST ever since 2000. Even though she has been intensively involved for the past ten years, her level of involvement has never diminished, and it continues to increase every year.
Mrs. Best, a former IBM engineer who co-invented the DVD, has been willing to help regardless of the subject matter. She assists with outreach and grant writing, reviewing CADs and participating in design reviews. Through her dedication and relentless efforts, Team 604 has been able to form strong corporate relationships with companies such as IBM and BAE Systems. She has arranged demonstrations of our robot as well as the entire FIRST program at IBM’s Excite and Ignite camps, which are a set of summer camps for students interested in STEM fields who want to go further. With her support, we are able to coordinate demos with other teams and BAE Systems such as the SAE Motorfest and the 100th anniversary of the Zero1 Foundation. Regardless of the time of day, she is willing to come to school to review drafts of any document from business plans to Chairman’s Essays.
Housing a mill, lathe, and robotics family, her tolerance for tech-geeks is stunning. Mrs. Best is always willing to open her home to students for machine shop sessions, brainstorming and strategy meetings. While these meetings can run long into the night, she is always there willing to help, run errands, or cook dinner for the students working. Many of our midnight build sessions would not have been possible without her support or dedication.
Mrs. Best is always on the lookout for new opportunities to raise money for Team 604 and the FIRST program. From looking at new grant opportunities to meeting with new corporations, she never forgets to make sure that students are involved and learning from the experience.
Although her son has left for college, Mrs. Best has decided to stay behind and pass on her enormous experience. Her dedication continues to shape the members of Team 604 into the fine students we are today. She is simply the ‘best’.